NHL Game 2 Preview: Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs

May 4, 2023

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Game: Florida Panthers @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Odds: Panthers +164, -182

Total: 6.5

When they take the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference second-round playoff series, the Florida Panthers will be in a great position. As a result of their victory over the Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series on Tuesday, they have ensured at least a split on the road to open the series. A win would give Florida a 2-0 advantage with the series headed back to South Beach.

The realization that the Panthers were not expected to advance this far in the playoffs is another source of satisfaction for the team. Florida managed to upset the top-seeded Boston Bruins in Round 1. The Bruins had set a new standard for success during the regular season with 65 victories and 135 points, both tops in the NHL this season.

In spite of the fact that they were trailing 3-1 in the series, the Panthers were able to come back and win the next three games, including Game 7 in overtime last Sunday in Boston. Tonight, they will try to win their fifth straight playoff game.

Despite having only one day between games, the Panthers had more juice than the Maple Leafs, who had already won their opening round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Florida took advantage of several Toronto mistakes and went up 2-0 early in Game 1. Then, the Panthers rebounded when the Maples Leafs tied the game at 2-2.

Carter Verhaeghe scored on a breakaway at 17:47 of the second period. That made the score 3-2 and would end up being the deciding factor in the game. Florida went on to win 4-2.

For Florida, Matthew Tkachuk led the team in hits with nine and also contributed three assists. Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 34 saves.

The Panthers have won four straight and eight of their last nine on the road. They have done it by blasting opposing goalies. Florida led the NHL in shots (36.5) and, as a result, ranked fourth in scoring averaging 3.55 goals per game. In their current four-game winning streak, the Panthers have scored at least four goals in each game and have totaled 19.

Despite the loss on Tuesday, the Maple Leafs have won eight of their last 11 games. They have also owned Toronto when playing the Leafs at home. Florida is 9-3 SU in their last 12 home games against the Panthers.

These are two of the highest-scoring teams in the NHL. As mentioned, Florida ranks fourth. Toronto is ninth averaging 3.43 goals per game. The Over has cashed in four of Florida’s last five games and the Over is 48-34-8 for the season. The Over has hit in five of Toronto’s last seven games played in May, but in the series with the Panthers, the Under is 4-2 in the last six games. In the last three meetings, the teams have averaged just 4.67 combined points.

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